COVID-19 Update
May 7, 2020

SIP-PL Public Comments Period Extended 
The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is extending the public comment period on the revised draft Specialized I/DD Plans - Provider Led (SIP-PL) Qualification Document containing the requirements for the creation of specialized Managed Care Plans to June 25, 2020. 

A link to the draft document can be found here Comments can be sent to:

Governance Webinar 
Dr. John Kowalczyk, President of The Arc New York, will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, May 20th at 1:00 p.m. to discuss the Organization's Governance post-COVID. The webinar will consist of the following internal panelists and topics:  
  • Dr. John Kowalczyk, President, The Arc New York - Overview and Lead Panelist 
  • Kate Jerian, General Counsel, The Arc New York - Legal Issues, By-Law Changes
  • Joseph Zifchock, Board Treasurer, The Arc New York - Financial Considerations
  • Kirk Lewis, Executive Director, Schenectady ARC - Relationship of Executive Directors in Governance
  • Laura Kennedy, Co-Chairperson Membership Workgroup, The Arc New York - Membership, Advocacy, etc., post-COVID
You can register for the webinar here

Correction to iV4 Return to Work Webinar
In yesterday's update we shared a webinar offering by iV4 on strategies for returning to work for business leaders and IT professionals. However, there was an issue with the original link we shared. If you are interested in registering for the webinar please do so here

Individual Resource Limits Challenges
During the COVID-19 public health crisis, we are experiencing increasing challenges with managing individual's funds within the resource limits established by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Neither The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) nor SSA have offered specific remedies for this situation. We recently discussed this on our weekly calls with Executive Directors.

NYSARC Trust Services remains a viable option for some individuals who are facing assets in excess of the resource limits. They can often turn around new accounts within a few business days, providing they have all necessary information. We encourage Chapters to contact the NYSARC trust team at 518-439-8323 to walk through the individual scenarios and determine if a trust is the solution.

We also connected with Kristina Cunningham of Care Design New York (CDNY). Prior to joining CDNY, Ms. Cunningham was a district manager at OPWDD in the Revenue Support Field Operations unit. She is well versed in the area of benefits and assets management. She shared the following strategies to consider pending the release of any official guidance.
  • Seek to use online retailers if possible. If the person does not have a credit card, OPWDD allows the agency to use the agency card, provided they FIRST ensure the person has the amount of funds available for the purchase AND encumber the funds, so they are immediately available to pay the provider.  If the agency does not ensure funds are available and encumber them, that leaves the person "owing" the provider, which means the provider has "pledged" the money to the person, which is not allowable under personal allowance regulations. 
  • Consider other creative approaches, like subscription services for apps and games, interest-based groups, online classes or lessons they may be interested in. The credit card option described above may assist in making this possible.
  • ABLE accounts can be easily set up online. Once established, an ABLE account allows the person to deposit money, which is then exempt for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) and Medicaid purposes. There are a number of things that the money in these accounts can be used for that are broader than what Special Needs Trust (SNT) funds could be used for. Of course, SNTs are also an option, but they take longer to set up and have associated fees. 
  • Individuals can set aside up to $1,500 toward future burial needs. The account just needs to be identified clearly as an irrevocable burial fund. The principle and any interest are exempt for SSI purposes.
  • Pre-need funeral arrangements may also be an option. These are generally better for people who receive large retro benefits, given the costs of funeral services and items. A funeral home can assist with this process. Best practice is to fully fund the account it when it is established, rather than paying in installments, but it can be added to, so you could start small and add items and services as needed.
Ms. Cunningham also shared that, for SSI, the person can have more than $2,000 throughout a given month, but they have to be back under the limit by the first of the following month. If they are over the threshold at that time, the excess must be reported to SSA. Payment would resume the following month if they are back under the limits.

Community Foundation Grant 
The Arc New York was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, as part of their COVID-19 Response Fund. The grant is being used to offset the cost of providing critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for our Capital Region Chapters. We extend our thanks to the Community Foundation for their commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities, our dedicated staff, and community-based organizations throughout the Capital Region. 

This and all related updates will be cataloged on  The Arc New York COVID-19 Resource Page   for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.

Josh Christiana , Associate Executive Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations

This email was sent to:
  • President Jack Kowalczyk 
  • Board of Governors 
  • Chapter Presidents
  • Executive Directors 
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers  
  • HR Directors 
  • PR Directors 
  • Quality & Compliance Staff 
  • Joint Committee on Quality & Compliance 
  • Guardianship Coordinators 
  • State Office Staff